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Reliant To Refund California

Federal energy regulators say Reliant Energy has agreed to refund $13.8 million to California to settle claims that employees withheld power for two days to drive up prices in the state.

The refund covers two days in June 2000, when transcripts of telephone calls between Reliant employees show that employees held back power to California´s newly deregulated market. The transcripts are posted on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission´s Web site. FERC says the amount reflects the most money Reliant could have made by keeping power from the market.

Houston-based Reliant admitted no wrongdoing in the agreement but said a senior official who directed traders to withhold power is no longer with the company. The company also called the June 2000 actions “an isolated situation.”